Former FBI Director James Comey has asked a U.S. judge to quash a subpoena from congressional Republicans compelling him to testify behind closed doors about his decisions on the Russia investigation ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The unusual filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on November 30 came after Comey previously told Republican lawmakers he would only agree to testify if the hearing were open to the public.
"Comey asks this court's intervention not to avoid giving testimony but to prevent the joint committee from using the pretext of a closed interview to peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative," the filing said.
The subpoena ordering Comey's testimony was issued as part of a joint investigation by the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee into decisions made by the FBI in connection with its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server and its investigation into whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia.
The Republican-led inquiry has been lambasted by Democrats as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, which Trump has labeled a "witch hunt."
Comey, who was fired by Trump last year, is seen as an important witness into whether Trump tried to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation.
Republicans have alleged the FBI is biased against Trump. They have also claimed that the FBI made missteps when it applied for a warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the Russia investigation.
The Republican probe is expected to conclude in January, when Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.